(Last Updated On: November 22, 2023)

Crypto Seizure Breaking News: Major Romance & Pig Butchering Scam Organization Disrupted

Author:
•  U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. Department of Justice

Cyber Scam Organization Disrupted Through Seizure Of Nearly $9M In Crypto

Government Seizes Crypto For The Victims

The Justice Department announced today the seizure of nearly $9 million worth of Tether, a cryptocurrency pegged to the U.S. dollar. These seized funds were traced to cryptocurrency addresses [wallets] allegedly associated with an organization that exploited over 70 victims through romance scams and cryptocurrency confidence scams, which are widely known as “pig butchering.”

“Through this significant seizure, we disrupted the financial infrastructure of an organized network of scammers who stole millions from victims across the United States. These scammers prey on ordinary investors by creating websites that tell victims their investments are working to make them money. The truth is that these international criminal actors are simply stealing cryptocurrency and leaving victims with nothing,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The department hopes this recovery of assets will bring some closure and a sense of justice to the over 70 victims affected by this series of scams. This seizure should also serve as a reminder to cybercriminals that, although the current landscape of the cryptocurrency ecosystem may seem like an ideal way to launder ill-gotten gains, law enforcement will continue to develop the expertise needed to follow the money and seize it back for victims.”

“This seizure is the culmination of the exceptional hard work and collaborative partnership between the Justice Department and the United States Secret Service,” said U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey for the Northern District of California. “Silicon Valley remains one of the world’s preeminent locations for cryptocurrency firms. As such, we remain dedicated to using all tools at our disposal to bring justice to the victims of frauds and scams. Even when money and criminals are abroad, we will work with our partners to seize cyber criminals’ illegal proceeds.”

“This seizure exemplifies the Secret Service’s mission to protect the financial infrastructure of the United States. We remain determined and vigilant to combat cyber-enabled financial fraud,” said Special Agent in Charge Shawn Bradstreet of the USSS San Francisco Field Office. “It is a priority for the Secret Service to protect the financial security that citizens work so hard to obtain. We want to thank the Justice Department for their partnership, dedication, and outstanding work on this case.”

According to court documents, criminal actors worked together to target victims and convince them to make cryptocurrency deposits by fraudulently representing that the victims were making investments with trusted firms and cryptocurrency exchanges. In reality, the purported firms and cryptocurrency exchanges were non-existent trading platforms. Agents and analysts from the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) were able to trace those victim deposits and observed that the funds were quickly laundered through dozens of cryptocurrency addresses and exchanged for several different cryptocurrencies, a money laundering technique often referred to as “chain hopping.” These techniques are used to “layer” the proceeds of criminal activity into new cryptocurrency ecosystems, all to obfuscate the nature, source, control, and ownership of those proceeds. The seized funds were linked to numerous victim reports made via the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Consumer Sentinel Network.

The United States Secret Service (USSS) San Francisco Field Office investigated this case.

Trial Attorney Georgiana MacDonald of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chris Kaltsas and Galen Phillips for the Northern District of California are handling the case, as well as the seizure and forfeiture actions.

The department would like to acknowledge Tether for its assistance in effectuating the transfer of these assets.

SCARS Resources:

PLEASE NOTE: Psychology Clarification

The following specific modalities within the practice of psychology are restricted to psychologists appropriately trained in the use of such modalities:

  • Diagnosis: The diagnosis of mental, emotional, or brain disorders and related behaviors.
  • Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalysis is a type of therapy that focuses on helping individuals to understand and resolve unconscious conflicts.
  • Hypnosis: Hypnosis is a state of trance in which individuals are more susceptible to suggestion. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, and pain.
  • Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a type of therapy that teaches individuals to control their bodily functions, such as heart rate and blood pressure. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including stress, anxiety, and pain.
  • Behavioral analysis: Behavioral analysis is a type of therapy that focuses on changing individuals’ behaviors. It is often used to treat conditions such as autism and ADHD.
    Neuropsychology: Neuropsychology is a type of psychology that focuses on the relationship between the brain and behavior. It is often used to assess and treat cognitive impairments caused by brain injuries or diseases.

SCARS and the members of the SCARS Team do not engage in any of the above modalities in relationship to scam victims. SCARS is not a mental healthcare provider and recognizes the importance of professionalism and separation between its work and that of the licensed practice of psychology.

SCARS is an educational provider of generalized self-help information that individuals can use for their own benefit to achieve their own goals related to emotional trauma. SCARS recommends that all scam victims see professional counselors or therapists to help them determine the suitability of any specific information or practices that may help them.

SCARS cannot diagnose or treat any individuals, nor can it state the effectiveness of any educational information that it may provide, regardless of its experience in interacting with traumatized scam victims over time. All information that SCARS provides is purely for general educational purposes to help scam victims become aware of and better understand the topics and to be able to dialog with their counselors or therapists.

It is important that all readers understand these distinctions and that they apply the information that SCARS may publish at their own risk, and should do so only after consulting a licensed psychologist or mental healthcare provider.

Opinions

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of the Society of Citizens Against Rleationship Scams Inc. The author is solely responsible for the content of their work. SCARS is protected under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) section 230 from liability.

Disclaimer:

SCARS IS A DIGITAL PUBLISHER AND DOES NOT OFFER HEALTH OR MEDICAL ADVICE, LEGAL ADVICE, FINANCIAL ADVICE, OR SERVICES THAT SCARS IS NOT LICENSED OR REGISTERED TO PERFORM.

IF YOU’RE FACING A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, CALL YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY SERVICES IMMEDIATELY, OR VISIT THE NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM OR URGENT CARE CENTER. YOU SHOULD CONSULT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER BEFORE FOLLOWING ANY MEDICALLY RELATED INFORMATION PRESENTED ON OUR PAGES.

ALWAYS CONSULT A LICENSED ATTORNEY FOR ANY ADVICE REGARDING LEGAL MATTERS.

A LICENSED FINANCIAL OR TAX PROFESSIONAL SHOULD BE CONSULTED BEFORE ACTING ON ANY INFORMATION RELATING TO YOUR PERSONAL FINANCES OR TAX RELATED ISSUES AND INFORMATION.

SCARS IS NOT A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR – WE DO NOT PROVIDE INVESTIGATIVE SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS OR BUSINESSES. ANY INVESTIGATIONS THAT SCARS MAY PERFORM IS NOT A SERVICE PROVIDED TO THIRD-PARTIES. INFORMATION REPORTED TO SCARS MAY BE FORWARDED TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AS SCARS SEE FIT AND APPROPRIATE.

This content and other material contained on the website, apps, newsletter, and products (“Content”), is general in nature and for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical, legal, or financial advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for licensed or regulated professional advice. Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider, lawyer, financial, or tax professional with any questions you may have regarding the educational information contained herein. SCARS makes no guarantees about the efficacy of information described on or in SCARS’ Content. The information contained is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible situations or effects. SCARS does not recommend or endorse any specific professional or care provider, product, service, or other information that may be mentioned in SCARS’ websites, apps, and Content unless explicitly identified as such.

The disclaimers herein are provided on this page for ease of reference. These disclaimers supplement and are a part of SCARS’ website’s Terms of Use

Legal Notices: 

All original content is Copyright © 1991 – 2023 Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. (Registered D.B.A SCARS) All Rights Reserved Worldwide & Webwide. Third-party copyrights acknowledge.

U.S. State of Florida Registration Nonprofit (Not for Profit) #N20000011978 [SCARS DBA Registered #G20000137918] – Learn more at www.AgainstScams.org

SCARS, SCARS|INTERNATIONAL, SCARS, SCARS|SUPPORT, SCARS, RSN, Romance Scams Now, SCARS|INTERNATION, SCARS|WORLDWIDE, SCARS|GLOBAL, SCARS, Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams, Society of Citizens Against Romance Scams, SCARS|ANYSCAM, Project Anyscam, Anyscam, SCARS|GOFCH, GOFCH, SCARS|CHINA, SCARS|CDN, SCARS|UK, SCARS|LATINOAMERICA, SCARS|MEMBER, SCARS|VOLUNTEER, SCARS Cybercriminal Data Network, Cobalt Alert, Scam Victims Support Group, SCARS ANGELS, SCARS RANGERS, SCARS MARSHALLS, SCARS PARTNERS, are all trademarks of Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc., All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Contact the legal department for the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated by email at legal@AgainstScams.org